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Happy 40th Earth Day!

April 22, 2010

It was forty years ago, in 1970, when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, Democrat from Wisconsin, founded Earth Day.  Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.

Senator Nelson chose April 22 in order to maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as an “environmental teach-in.” He determined the week of April 19–25 was the best bet; it did not fall during exams or spring breaks, did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other mid-week events—so he chose Wednesday, April 22. He said, “A person many consider the world’s first environmentalist, Saint Francis of Assisi, was born on April 22.”

Please click here for the Los Angeles Times interview with Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first Earth Day in 1970, who discusses the challenges for the environmental movement and prospects for global warming legislation in today’s changed political climate.


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